The Kings XI Punjab have jumped from the last place to fourth place in the points table as they comprehensively thump the Kolkata Knight Riders at Sharjah Cricket Stadium. Mandeep Singh and Chris Gayle’s fifties ensured Kings XI Punjab win their fifth successive game after defeating Mumbai Indians, Delhi Capitals and Sunrisers Hyderabad in the previous. They now enter the race with 12 points under their tally just behind Mumbai Indians, Delhi Capitals and Royal Challengers Bangalore.

It all started at the toss as Kings XI Punjab skipper KL Rahul won the toss and elected to bowl first at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium. Both sides went unchanged from their previous playing Xis which came as surprise since the likes of Jimmy Neesham and Andre Russell were expected to play.

Kings XI Punjab Win Five On The Trot after Six Losses

Batting first Kolkata Knight Riders batsmen were victims of an early attack by the Kings XI Punjab as Nitish Rana was dismissed by Glenn Maxwell on the very first delivery. Followed by which Mohammed Shami pace led a riot among the Kolkata Knight Riders middle-order as Rahul Tripathi and Dinesh Karthik were dismissed in quick succession.

Eoin Morgan and Shubman Gill looked to counter-attack the KXIP bowling unit as notched up an 81 run partnership between them. Following Morgan’s dismissal by Ravi Bishnoi, the KKR line up just collapsed which ended with Lockie Ferguson’s quickfire 24 runs off 13 deliveries.

Kings XI Punjab’s chase started off briskly, their skipper KL Rahul was dismissed on 28 off Varun Chakravarthy as the mystery spinner caught him off LBW. After which it was the Mandeep Singh and Chris Gayle Show as they put up a 100 run stand between them taking the game away from Kolkata Knight Riders way before they could even get there as Mandeep Singh finished with 66 not out off 56 deliveries.

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We Are Happy Now, Still A Long Way To Go:  Chris Gayle

The man of the match of today’s match between Kings XI Punjab and Kolkata Knight Riders was Chris Gayle for his knock of 51 runs off just 29 deliveries. At the postman presentation, Chris Gayle said that since the pitch wasn’t suited for Sunil Narine’s bowling, he decided to take risks against the Caribbean mystery spinner.

He said it was important to assess the conditions as quickly as possible as with two spinners in their side they had to adjust quickly before the bowlers get set. Chris Gayle batted with Mandeep Singh for the majority part of the innings and was guiding him at every step as well as easing the pressure off him whenever possible.

“I have been doing some off-field training with the trainer when I wasn’t playing. You have to have a good feeling. We are happy now, still a long way to go. It was important to assess the conditions as quickly as possible. Two very good spinners, it was important to adjust quickly. Once you get the first boundary going, I was always going to get into the zone,” Chris Gayle said. 

“I eased a bit of pressure off Mandeep bit, he batted really well and it was a great partnership. Sunil has got me out so many teams. You got to make the best use of it because the wicket wasn’t suiting for him. The last game, we told we wanted to win it for him (Mandeep). Really happy for him. We needed some sort of momentum to get that will power,” he added.